Students to learn to detect overdoses and reverse them using naloxone
The University of B.C.'s Alma Mater Society is organizing mass
training events to teach students to recognize and reverse drug
overdoses amid a devastating provincial health emergency that shows no
sign of slowing down.
Organizers say 120 students are registered for a two-hour training
session Thursday in the student union building at UBC's Vancouver
campus, where they'll learn the signs of an overdose, how to use a
naloxone kit and the role stigma-free language plays in improving the
lives of people who use drugs.
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B.C. should follow California's lead as it transitions to a legal
cannabis environment and authorizes retail marijuana sales next July.
Both jurisdictions are pot-culture capitals and are dealing with
too-tight deadlines and too many nuanced problems to properly meet
California state voters in 2016 endorsed Proposition 64, which
approved legal cannabis with retail pot sales starting Jan. 1, 2018.
As of November, adults over 21 could possess (and give each other) up
to 28 grams, as well as seven grams of hash, and they can grow up to
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The federal decision to legalize is going to have a significant impact
on the country, provinces and local governments.
The provincial government has given itself just over five weeks to
gather input from municipalities, the public and other stakeholders
about non-medical cannabis regulation in B.C.
It's an ambitious deadline, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor
General Mike Farnworth conceded on Monday during the Union of B.C.
Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Vancouver as he announced the
province's plans for public consultations.
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The fledgling B.C. NDP government has decided how it will deal with
the looming legalization of marijuana: continue talking it to death.
Dispensary owners, illegal producers, consumers, patients, parents -
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth explained Monday that everyone's
opinion is being sought because "one size does not fit all" and "we
need to get it right."
Until 4 p.m. on the Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, Farnworth says anyone can
participate in a provincewide conversation on pot - the minimum age,
personal possession limits, public consumption, drug-impaired driving,
personal cultivation, distribution, retail models ... It's all on the
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B.C. municipalities intend to debate next week how to press the
provincial government to include them in its plans for cannabis as
federal legalization approaches.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities will vote on a special resolution at
its annual convention next Wednesday.
The resolution, which addresses their role in a provincial cannabis
framework ahead of federal legalization expected next July, was put
forth by the union's executive.
It calls for "fulsome and meaningful" consultation with Victoria,
adequate provincial funding to cover costs related to implementing its
framework, a fair share of taxes for cities and respect for
municipalities' "choice, jurisdiction and authority" with regards to
land use, zoning and other city hall concerns.
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Cannabis dispensaries should be afraid, very afraid, about what is in
store when the federal government legalizes cannabis for recreational
Justice ministers are meeting in Vancouver and the House of Commons
health committee this week has been examining the legalization law -
and the clock is ticking for those trying to cash in on the current
There are widespread concerns about everything from the massive impact
of legal cannabis on impaired driving enforcement to the fallout of
allowing anyone over 18 to grow up to four pot plants.
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Federal minister, provincial counterparts meet to establish common
ground on issues
After two days of meetings in Vancouver, the nation's justice and
public safety ministers were vague and hazy Friday about what the
looming legalization of cannabis will actually look like.
The ministers said they had a "robust" discussion about the weed, but
seemed to agree only that many challenges remained - not the least of
which was meeting what was called an "ambitious" July 1 deadline for
ending the near-century-old pot prohibition.
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Provinces still looking for more direction from federal government
B.C.'s top cop says the province remains undecided on how it will tax,
distribute and regulate the use of marijuana once the federal
government legalizes it next summer.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he hopes to hear more ideas from
his provincial and federal counterparts Friday as they continue a
meeting in Vancouver. Ottawa intends to legalize pot within 10 months,
forcing the provinces to develop their own rules.
"It's certainly a challenging deadline, not just for British Columbia
but all provinces, and I think both ministers and premiers have been
saying that to the federal government," Farnworth said Thursday. "We
know it is a challenge in B.C., but one we're working toward."
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Cannabis retailers waiting to learn fate
Like a vignette of small-town life, a laid-back shopkeeper sits at a
yellow table beside the unlocked bicycle leaning against the
storefront, smiles, puts down his coffee mug and greets a customer by
"Hey Fred, how ya doing?" Jeremy Jacob said to his visitor Thursday,
welcoming his old friend into the shop.
Jacob and his wife Andrea Dobbs run a family business in Kitsilano, a
bright, airy space where a loud waterfall rushes outside, dozens of
cannabis products line the shelves inside, and a Pomeranian named Lego
lounges on the ground.
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B.C.'s first minister of mental health and addictions says she will
take an "all-ministry" approach to the overdose crisis, influenced in
part by Portugal's renowned policy for druguse and addiction.
Minister Judy Darcy met with Dr. Joao Goulao, Portugal's national drug
co-ordinator, at this week's Recovery Capital Conference of Canada in
In 1998, Goulao was part of a committee that developed policy to deal
with a deadly drug crisis in his country, during which one per cent of
the population was addicted.
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The (earlier on) that they become attached to ... role models and
mentors, the greater the resiliency.
As preteens march off to elementary schools in Surrey this week, a
group of elder peers is making plans to steer them away from the
deadly path to gang life.
Yo Bro | Yo Girl, a program for youth at risk, is expanding to protect
children as young as 11 from entering a violent lifestyle that is
claiming the lives of young men on Surrey's streets.
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B.C.'s former health minister, Terry Lake, is moving to the Ottawa
area this weekend to become a vice-president of a medical marijuana
company that is poised for massive growth.
Hydropothecary Corp. is a Health Canada-authorized producer of medical
marijuana with a 26-hectare facility in Gatineau, Que., that is about
to get six times larger. The firm was co-founded in 2013 by a stalwart
Liberal, Adam Miron, who also helped start the news website
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Cheryl Guardiero should have spent Thursday celebrating her son's 30th
birthday. Instead, she attended an International Overdose Awareness
Day vigil in Nanaimo, her boy now among the dead for whom they grieved.
Brett Colton Mercer was born in Nanaimo on Aug. 31, 1987, to loving
parents who eventually had five children. He died Aug. 19, 2017 of an
accidental drug overdose, alone in a motel room in Hope, where he had
recently landed a job with an oil and gas firm.
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Chatter was spreading online and through the Downtown Eastside on
Sunday and Monday, a rumour about cops busting an unlicensed pop-up
The dispensary in question is different from the roughly 60 unlicensed
pot shops running in Vancouver, many of which are slick commercial
operations. The High Hopes Foundation, a small booth that opened this
summer in the Downtown Eastside, is run by the people behind the
Overdose Prevention Society and works toward the same goal of saving
lives as an escalating overdose crisis rocks the city and province.
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Action, not words, is what we need to fix problem writes Michael
Like most of us in B.C. over the past few months my attention has been
focused on the goings on in Victoria and, more recently, the
significant effect from the wildfires.
I have to commend both the province and the federal government for
their response to the wildfire situation. It has really been quite
extraordinary and I'm sure has saved many homes and ultimately lives.
It clearly demonstrates what is possible when focus and resources are
provided in a timely manner.
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Sensitive patient data supplied to a Vancouver cannabis dispensary has
been either mishandled or - according to the shop's owner - stolen, a
situation that again highlights the confusion over the regulation of
Most people in weed-friendly Vancouver, it seems, don't have a problem
with dispensaries. A Nanos poll of Vancouverites last year found only
14 per cent supported banning medical dispensaries.
But the city's decision to take the lead in Canada by licensing a
still-illegal industry has contributed to a regulatory haze where many
in Vancouver - including cannabis users and non-consumers alike, and
even those involved in the weed business - have expressed confusion
about the state of affairs while Canadians await expected federal
legislation to legalize nonmedicinal marijuana.
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In the 1960s, the name Abe Snidanko sent chills up the spine of every
hippie in Vancouver. Snidanko worked undercover with the RCMP drug
squad and busted longhairs for pot and other drugs.
Snidanko's fame went international when former Vancouverite Tommy
Chong used him as the inspiration for Sgt. Stadanko, the opening track
on Cheech and Chong's 1973 comedy album Los Cochinos.
The fictional Sgt. Stadanko also appeared in the Cheech and Chong
films Up in Smoke and Nice Dreams. But what the real Sgt. Snidanko
thought about his fictional counterpart is unknown - he declined interviews.
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Quality checks of illicit drugs is one way, writes Kenneth Tupper.
In recent years across B.C., a public-health tragedy has resulted in
thousands of preventable deaths from street drugs containing powerful
opioids such as fentanyl or its analogs.
Toxicity from adulteration has occurred not just in the heroin supply,
but also in stimulants, club drugs and counterfeit pills. Border
agents and police have tried to reduce or disrupt the supply, but they
have had little success in stemming the tide of illicit drug
importation and consequent deaths.
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B.C.'s new solicitor general wants to review the province's anti-gang
programs to see if changes are needed to more effectively battle
brazen gun violence.
Mike Farnworth, the NDP's longtime critic of the public safety
portfolio, told Postmedia News the public is understandably concerned
by the ongoing violence.
In recent weeks, there have been several shootings in Surrey,
Abbotsford and Vancouver, as well as a killing in Chilliwack that
police say was a targeted attack.
"It is a critical issue in the Lower Mainland and at the end of the
day, it doesn't matter where you are - whether you are in Surrey or
Vancouver or Pouce Coupe or Prince Rupert - you deserve to feel safe
in your home," Farnworth said. "People deserve to be safe and feel
safe in their communities."
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Don't use alone, chief coroner urges, as 2017 death toll in opioid
crisis hits 780
Fewer people died of drug overdoses in June than in earlier months of
this year, but the death rate continues to be far higher than last
According to the B.C. Coroners Service, 780 deaths so far this year
can be attributed to overdosing on illicit drugs.
That's up 88 per cent from the same period a year ago, when there were
414 deaths. In total, there were 978 overdoses deaths in B.C. last
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